#CheerForParadise Fundraiser brought local rival schools together

Buena High Head Cheer Coach Lauren Lanski ( far left) and Ventura High Cheer Coach Kari Robinson ( far right) with members of the Buena and Ventura high school cheer teams.

The Ventura High and Buena High cheer and athletic teams have been accustomed to seeing each other as fierce rivals for decades. However, the two cheer teams recently decided to work together to help the cheer team in Paradise, CA after the devastation of the Camp Fire. The two local teams got together to host a huge community garage sale to raise money to support the Paradise squad—and raise money they did. The teams spent days prepping for and then hosting the sale, which was a big success, and yielded close to $3500.00. All of the money raised from the event will go towards replacing equipment, uniforms and other items lost by the cheer squad in the fire that decimated the entire town of Paradise.

Ventura High Cheer Coach Kari Robinson and Buena High Head Cheer Coach Lauren Lanski decided that they wanted to do something special for the Paradise High Cheer team after the loss suffered in their town. “Our cheerleaders worked hard on publicizing, gathering donated items, setting up the sale, and working on the day of the sale,” said Robinson.  “I am so proud of the girls and the love they have shown to others. I want to thank the Ventura community for supporting the #CheerForParadise fundraiser—we could not have been successful without all of your love and support!”

Paradise Coach Cat McMurray shared that at least 36 of her 42 cheerleaders lost their homes and everything in them in the Camp Fire. Coach McMurray reported that she has since spoken with and seen most of the girls on the team, and they are all safe and in good spirits.  “In an instant we were all separated and displaced,” said McMurray. “In the presence of tragedy and total despair we have all seen numerous blessings unfold and we are all truly blessed to be a Paradise Strong survivor. We truly thank the Ventura community for thinking of us and helping us to see the light.

Coach Lanski, whose husband is a firefighter, lost her home in the Thomas Fire, as did a number of cheerleaders on both the Ventura and Buena teams, so this cause was especially close to their collective hearts. “After losing my home, I understand the significance of having people reach out and show support. The support my family was shown by our community is truly what made a devastating experience into one that taught me how to receive, feel gratitude and reinforced why my husband and I made Ventura our home 23 years ago,” said Lanski.  “I know how hard cheerleaders work showing support to others and I believe the garage sale was the perfect opportunity to let Paradise high school cheerleaders know that we care.”

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